Wednesday, 16 January, 2002

Beowulf Cluster

I've always been intrigued by super computers and parallel processing machines, but never had access to even a dual processor machine.  When I got interested in Linux a couple of years ago I saw theBeowulf project and said:  "One of these days."

I mentioned the idea to the company president last week.  His eyes lit up and two days later I had two working Dell Dimension Pentium 166 MHz machines.  We have a bunch of decommissioned hardware at the office, mostly old Dell 166 machines.  Since last week I've scrounged a 333, a 200, two more 166s, a 133, and a 75.  All but the 133 are Dells.  This evening I installed Linux on the 333 and the 200, and got them talking to each other.  It's a start.  They're not doing any cooperative processing yet—maybe tomorrow or Friday.

So what am I going to do with a "super computer?"  Mostly I'm just interested in learning a bit about distributed processing.  That means tinkering it together, running other people's programs to verify that it's working, and then coming up with a project of my own so I can learn how to write code for parallel processing.  I have a few vague project ideas, but nothing I'd like to discuss yet in public.  You'll be hearing more about the project as time goes by.